Raphael Lacoste
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 2 (Feb 2005)

Raphael Lacoste

Legendes d’amazonie (Created with Softimage 3D and Mental Ray.) The artist made this conceptual image for his proposed 3D movie project based on Amazonian native tales.

Sunset on Babylon (Created with Softimage XSI.) This matte painting for the Prince of Persia: Warrior Within opening cinematic helped set up the game’s adventurous, d

Digital artist Raphael Lacoste of Montreal, Canada, enjoys the works of 19th-century Russian artists such as Hovhannes (Ivan) Aivazovsky and Ivan Ivanovitch Chichkine, known for their use of light to produce a dreamlike quality. And their influence on Lacoste’s own work is visually obvious. “My main focus is on atmosphere, mood,” Lacoste says, “and landscapes and architecture are interesting places in which to focus on lighting and the moods I have in mind. These subjects enable me to explore graphic and painter-like feelings, more so than fantastical universes allow.” Nevertheless, Lacoste’s art has a realistic quality, though he doesn’t think that element is the most interesting aspect of his work, if only for the fact that it can be achieved with photography, also an interest of his.

While crafting his pieces, Lacoste uses a palette that consists of 3ds max and Softimage XSI. Yet, Lacoste says he tries not to waste time fretting over technical details in his works. “I want to see the final image as soon as I can,” he says. “So I try to use 3D as I would any other medium, with the final goal being a piece of art, not a technical demonstration.”

Lacoste nearly always begins his pieces with a rough sketch, sometimes augmenting them with photos and other references. Then he begins modeling and adding basic lighting, and tweaks the lighting with textures. As a final touch, he post-processes the image in 2D with the paint tools in Adobe’s Photoshop, “to give life to an often cold and unimpressive CG picture.”

A selection of Lacoste’s personal works appears on these two pages. Additional pieces can be seen on his Web site at www.3dluvr.com/elrafo. -Karen Moltenbrey

Dark Castle (Created in 3ds max.) Comprised of mainly 3D elements, this image defined the 3D style of the Prince of Persia: Warrior Within cinematics.

Island of the Romantic (Created in Softimage 3D.) For this 3D matte painting, Lacoste used camera mapping and other 2D techniques, such as placing the flat elements on grids, to add life to the overall composition.

Cuban Mood (Created in Softimage XSI.) The artist crafted this piece while learning to use XSI. He then touched up the image in Photoshop after rendering it.

Arachne (Created in 3ds max.) Lacoste crafted this image as a 3D concept for a movie based on Rene Laloux’s movie Time Masters.